18 months ago if you told me that I would be spending my nights balancing video calls, pre-mixed cocktails and cooking a heat-at-home restaurant dinner I would have laughed in your face. Fast forward and here I am, typing this to you all before a family zoom quiz at 9 and a homemade pizza kit. Who am I?
The fact is that in the last year the hospitality industry has changed more than we ever could have comprehended. Do we miss getting out and about? Of course. Are we all sick of baking banana bread? Most certainly. However, when it comes to hospitality, we could be looking at a whole new world come July 21st.
OUTDOOR DINING SPACES
With that infamous British weather, who can really blame restaurants for not having outdoor seating spaces pre-covid but 2020 certainly put our winter jackets to the test!
Castle Street, situated in Cardiff City Centre, was a year ago one of the busiest roads in the City. In the summer it was transformed into an outdoor dining space where using only an app, you could order from over 10 local restaurants, cafes and bars.
Metropolitan cities like Copenhagen, Rome and Paris are havens for outdoor dining. Having visited Denmark in late November, let me tell you first hand, people still sit outside even into the wee hours of the morning. Bars and restaurants stock their outdoor seating spaces with blankets, huge fixed canopies, heaters and ,of course, mulled wine. It’s exceptionally easy to forget that the temperature has dipped into the minus figures. Fortunately with the warmer months just around the corner we don’t have to worry about braving the cold just yet, we can instead dream of cold glasses of white wine on rooftop terraces or morning cappuccinos sat outside a little cafe.
With many businesses having already put in the hard work – building gardens, designated seating, getting relevant licenses maybe this time next year we will all be sat clambering over each other for a spot in the fresh air no matter the season. It’s Wales, I really have to exaggerate the word fresh there…
AT HOME KITS
The myth, the legend. What would we have done without the invention of the At-Home kits last year? There are only so many times you can order from your local greasy takeaway after all.
Michelin star dining? Tick. Perfect pre-mixed cocktails? Tick. Build your own burgers? Tick. Every single base has been covered and now we can’t actually imagine our lives without them.
There is nothing worse than staring lovingly at a restaurant’s instagram post to only notice that their geolocation is 300 miles away. Get online and check their at home kits. Many businesses like Hub Box and The Alchemist are shipping Nationwide.
Restaurants and bars up and down the kitchen have brought us an endless array of At-Home Kits and our kitchens, tummies and general levels of sanity are all thankful for it. Pop a sous vide bag into a pan of water or that neat little foil tray into the oven and voila, a restaurant quality meal that you can sit and eat in your pyjamas if your heart desires. Why would we ever want that to end?
RISE OF THE APP & CLICK AND COLLECT
The 2020 festive period was by far the least stressful of all time for me. Not once did I queue at a department store, or stand at a bar for 30 minutes waiting for my Baileys. Technology is once again king, click and collect has become the modern day answer to last minute shopping with businesses small and large offering the service. Not only does it save our sanity, but it also saves our families getting yet another 3 for 2 bath set that we picked up purely because we couldn’t “find” anything else. All browsing is done at home, on the sofa, scrolling instagram – now a haven for small and independent businesses throwing us beautiful gifts that we know our loved ones won’t try regift…
Then we have the app. To be more specific, the ordering apps, like Yoello, now in place at countless hospitality businesses. Ordering apps are brilliant in so many ways, but my favourite? The end to the ever awkward bill dance.
“Well it works out £28 per person but I only had a starter so…”
I cringe just thinking about it. Hello, app ordering. No awkward fumbling over the bill, no keeping the poor waiting staff hanging around because no, we still don’t know what we want because we’ve not stopped talking since we sat down and I have barely looked at the menu.
Looking back on what can only be described as an incomprehensible 12 months, it’s amazing to think how far the hospitality industry has come. Months and months of uncertainty, unprecedented rules and guidelines to follow and yet, through it all, whilst hugely changed, the hospitality industry is looking like it’s going to be stronger and better than ever by the end of 2021 and with a shiny new edge.
Guest blog & photography by Proper Lush